Bugworks raises $7.5 m from global investment syndicate

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on April 23, 2020 Published on April 23, 2020

Bugworks Research Inc, a biopharma start-up that designs novel broad-spectrum antibiotics, has raised $7.5 million from a global investment syndicate to combat the challenge posed by deadly bacterial superbugs.

The funding was led by University of Tokyo Edge Capital (UTEC) Japan and Global Brain Corporation (Global Brain) Japan, along with Acquipharma Holdings, South Africa. After this round, the start-up has raised $19 million till date with 3one4 Capital as an existing investor.

This investment enables Bugworks to complete Phase-I studies for its GYROX series intravenous drug candidate and advance an oral lead towards clinical development. Bugworks’ drug candidate, a dual-target gyrase-topoisomerase inhibitor supported by CARB-X since 2017, is a novel broad-spectrum agent targeting critical bacterial infections implicated in serious hospital, community and bio-threat indications.

“This new financing is an endorsement of our team and differentiated AMR (antimicrobial resistance) assets, as we bring reputed global investors to aid our mission of pandemic preparedness by defeating superbug infections," said Anand Anandkumar, CEO of Bugworks.

Tackling viral infections

Elaborating further, he said: “Pandemics that caused millions of deaths on a global scale in the past 500 years have been either bacterial, like the black plague of the middle ages, or viral, like the Spanish flu during the first World War. Both these pandemics caused over 50 million deaths. The current Covid-19 pandemic is of viral origin, however since its primary site of infection is in the lungs, many deaths occur due to secondary bacterial infection, which are often drug-resistant.”

“A preferred response to such a viral infection would be a cocktail of potent antiviral, antibacterial and immune balancing agent. Unfortunately, we are somewhat handicapped in this treatment, which is the main reason for a large number deaths even in this age of modern medicine. We hope that with the current funding and global initiatives around Covid-19, we will get a potent antiviral in the coming years,” he added.

UTEC led the Bugworks Series A in 2018 and facilitated Bugworks’ collaboration with the Japanese ecosystem. “Bugworks has thoroughly impressed us with their scientific rigour, pre-clinical data, business development progress and commitment to saving lives. We are now proud to double-down our investment in Bugworks,” said Tomotaka Goji, Managing Partner & President, UTEC, in a statement.

“As witnessed with Covid-19, infectious diseases are threatening human existence. AMR is a serious issue and Global Brain regards this as a big unmet medical need. We are proud to partner with Bugworks to bring highly differentiated solutions in AMR to the market. We consider India to be an important region, both from innovation and market perspective and are hence accelerating our investment activity in India,” said Yasuhiko Yurimoto, founder, CEO and general partner, Global Brain.

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Published on April 23, 2020
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